Sting targets fraud

A local man has been accused in the Orange County district attorney’s second chiropractic insurance fraud undercover sting operation this year.

Twelve defendants countywide, ranging from chiropractors to attorneys and law office employees, were accused of a range of crimes including insurance overbilling, illegally practicing law and misuse of attorney-client trust accounts, authorities said.

In the operation, undercover investigators posed as “patients” at law offices and chiropractic clinics, claiming they were in pain due to soft-tissue damage from car accidents.

Chiropractor Paul Truong Nguyen, 44, of Huntington Beach, was arrested May 7 and charged with two counts of insurance fraud; he faces a maximum of six years in prison.

Nguyen was visited by undercover investigators in August 2007 at Health First Chiropractic, 10840 Warner Ave., Fountain Valley, after the two investigators went to a Westminster law office and were referred to Nguyen.

The two undercover investigators were treated by Nguyen nine and 12 times, respectively, prosecutors said. Nguyen then falsely claimed to insurance companies that each “patient” visited him 29 times, and collected about $4,000 in fraudulent insurance payouts, according to prosecutors. The attorney also collected fees from their case, they added.

Prosecutors from the Gatekeepers Insurance Fraud Team also have named a new defendant in one of the original local Operation K-Fraud (Knockout Fraudulent Attorneys and Unscrupulous Doctors) cases, announced in February.

Lam Thi Nguyen, 37, a law office administrator in Westminster, was arrested May 7 on a warrant and charged with conspiracy and illegally practicing law.

In the case, chiropractor Keith Tran Callaway, 42, of Huntington Beach, who operated the Newport Spinal Rehabilitation center in Fountain Valley, was charged with conspiracy, insurance fraud and grand theft. His practice administrator Ky Hoang Tran, 67, of Fullerton, was charged with conspiracy and grand theft. Their pretrial hearing is scheduled for May 28.

Authorities said Nguyen referred undercover investigators to Callaway’s practice and received a portion of the insurance payments from overbilling following the referral.

In another local K-Fraud case, chiropractor Quan Hoang Tran, 35, of Huntington Beach, worked at the California Pain Center in Fountain Valley; he was charged with unlawfully receiving consideration by a claims handler for referral in February.

His pretrial is scheduled for Monday.


Reporter CANDICE BAKER can be reached at (714) 966-4631 or at candice.baker@latimes.com.

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